Exploring Contemporary Art - British Art Show 8

Caroline Achaintre - Ray Inn (2010)


Born in France in 1969; lives and works in London. Achaintre was apprenticed to a blacksmith artist, before completing her studies at the Kunsthochschule in Saale, Germany. She then carried out postgraduate studies at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and Goldsmiths College.


Achaintre’s art work has been linked to art history movements such as German Expressionism and post-war British sculpture. Some people see other influences in her art works, from tribal culture to carnival masks and crafting or textile production. Her hand-tufted tapestries also evoke associations with Medieval wall-hangings.


Achaintre works in various media – from textiles to ceramics, woodcuts and watercolours. For her the process is valuable, rather than the end result. 

‘I am a sculptor preliminary working with hand tufted wool and clay … Both techniques (hand tufting and sculpting with clay) require an intense, physical progression … Not knowing the outcome I have to plunge into the process. Interested in the field between abstraction and figuration I try to stay in the uncomfortable middle ground, the in-between.’ 
(Quoted from the Contemporary Art Society website: see link below) 

In ‘Ray Inn’ (2010) Achaintre has used a technique called ‘tufting’, in which she weaves pieces of yarn into a canvas base. She calls this process ‘painting’ with wool.

Discussion ideas:

  • How does the texture of 'Ray Inn' look?
  • What colours and patterns can you see in 'Ray Inn'?
  • Where else have you seen similar textures, colours and patterns?
  • What images come into your mind when you look at 'Ray Inn'?

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas.

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